Recommended Readings List

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Below is a catalog of some of my favorite books/texts which I believe that everyone will benefit from reading.

NOTE I: I may expand this list in the future.

NOTE II: I provided free download links where I could find them; purchase links where I couldn’t.
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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

“Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say ‘yes’—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.”









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Self-Presentation: Impression Management and Interpersonal Behavior by Mark R. Leary

“People have a pervasive and ongoing concern with how they are perceived and evaluated by others. No matter what they are doing, people typically desire to make certain impressions on other people, and this focus on social images underlies a great deal of human behavior. Mark Leary offers a thorough, integrative review of the antecedents and consequences of self-presentation, examining why we are concerned with our public images and how our self-presentational motives affect behavior and emotion. Leary uses this self-presentational perspective to provide insight into leadership, aggression, attitude change, exercise, conflict, memory, self-enhancement, gender differences, embarrassment, and health-related behaviors. Looking at both situational factors that affect self-presentational behaviors, and personality variables that predispose some people to be particularly concerned about others’ impressions of them.”


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Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory by Kenneth Allan

“Continually praised for its conversational tone, personal examples, and helpful pedagogical tools, the exciting Third Edition of Kenneth Allan's Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World has been reorganized around the modern ideas of progress, knowledge, and democracy. With a historical thread woven throughout the chapters, the book presents a diverse selection of major classical theorists: Marx, Spencer, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Mead, Schutz, Martineau Gilman, Du Bois, and Parsons. Author Kenneth Allan focuses on the specific views of each theorist, rather than schools of thought, and highlights modernity and postmodernity to help readers understand how classical theory applies to their lives.”





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Technical Communication by John M. Lannon and Laura J. Gurak

“Technical Communication offers complete coverage of technical communication, business communication, and professional writing in a user-friendly writing style. The topics move from basic foundational concepts, to chapters on research, visuals, style, document design, usability, and finally to specific documents (basic workplace correspondence to more complex documents, technologies, and oral presentations). The appendix includes thorough coverage of MLA, APA, and CSE (Council of Science Editors) documentation styles, and a handbook of grammar, mechanics, and usage. All descriptions of and instructions for creating technical documents are accompanied by clear, annotated model documents. In addition, graphic illustrations appear throughout the book to make abstract concepts easy to understand. Checklists and Projects provide plentiful opportunities to learn and reinforce chapter topics.”

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Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by E. O. Wilson

“One of our greatest living scientists--and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for On Human Nature and The Ants--gives us a work of visionary importance that may be the crowning achievement of his career. In Consilience (a word that originally meant "jumping together"), Edward O. Wilson renews the Enlightenment's search for a unified theory of knowledge in disciplines that range from physics to biology, the social sciences and the humanities.

Using the natural sciences as his model, Wilson forges dramatic links between fields. He explores the chemistry of the mind and the genetic bases of culture. He postulates the biological principles underlying works of art from cave-drawings to Lolita. Presenting the latest findings in prose of wonderful clarity and oratorical eloquence, and synthesizing it into a dazzling whole, Consilience is science in the path-clearing traditions of Newton, Einstein, and Richard Feynman.”

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Mind As Machine: A History of Cognitive Science (Two-Volume Set) by Margaret A. Boden

“The development of cognitive science is one of the most remarkable and fascinating intellectual achievements of the modern era. The quest to understand the mind is as old as recorded human thought; but the progress of modern science has offered new methods and techniques which have revolutionized this enquiry.

Cognitive science is the project of understanding the mind by modeling its workings. Psychology is its heart, but it draws together various adjoining fields of research, including artificial intelligence; neuroscientific study of the brain; philosophical investigation of mind, language, logic, and understanding; computational work on logic and reasoning; linguistic research on grammar, semantics, and communication; and anthropological explorations of human similarities and differences.”

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A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

“A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?

Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.”




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The Science and Ethics of Engineering the Human Germ Line: Mendel’s Maze by Jon W. Gordon

“With implications that go to the core of what it means to be human, the issues raised by genetic manipulation-especially cloning-have sparked a passionate debate among governmental, religious, and scientific quarters, as well as the media and the general public. Keeping to the actual science rather than speculation is of the utmost importance for an enlightened approach to this weighty discussion.

In clear, lively prose, The Science and Ethics of Engineering the Human Germ Line: Mendel's Maze provides an authoritative treatment of the principles of science and bioethics that bear upon such technologies as germ-line insertion and cloning. It offers a realistic assessment of possible applications, limitations, and new developments likely to arise in these areas.”



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Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

“Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.”



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The Sciences of the Artificial by Herbert A. Simon

“Continuing his exploration of the organization of complexity and the science of design, this new edition of Herbert Simon's classic work on artificial intelligence adds a chapter that sorts out the current themes and tools–chaos, adaptive systems, genetic algorithms–for analyzing complexity and complex systems. There are updates throughout the book as well. These take into account important advances in cognitive psychology and the science of design while confirming and extending the book's basic thesis: that a physical symbol system has the necessary and sufficient means for intelligent action. The chapter ‘Economic Reality’ has also been revised to reflect a change in emphasis in Simon's thinking about the respective roles of organizations and markets in economic systems.”




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The Origin and Evolution of Cultures by Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson

“Oxford presents, in one convenient and coherently organized volume, 20 influential but until now relatively inaccessible articles that form the backbone of Boyd and Richerson's path-breaking work on evolution and culture. Their interdisciplinary research is based on two notions. First, that culture is crucial for understanding human behavior; unlike other organisms, socially transmitted beliefs, attitudes, and values heavily influence our behavior. Secondly, culture is part of biology: the capacity to acquire and transmit culture is a derived component of human psychology, and the contents of culture are deeply intertwined with our biology. Culture then is a pool of information, stored in the brains of the population that gets transmitted from one brain to another by social learning processes. Therefore, culture can account for both our outstanding ecological success as well as the maladaptations that characterize much of human behavior. The interest in this collection will span anthropology, psychology, economics, philosophy, and political science.”

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